Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Iran and meet his counterparts from Turkey and Iran today.
It comes as Iran indicated a readiness to supply Russia with combat drones—Ukraine has benefited from the similar Turkish Bayraktar drones in its ongoing war with Russia. While Russia has made significant gains recently—having occupied the vast majority of the Luhansk oblast—Western arms deliveries like American missiles have helped erode Russia’s deep magazine of munitions. Ukraine has used these Western-supplied missiles to destroy several ammunition facilities.
Russian strategy is shifting to focus on limiting the effectiveness of western weapons, especially low-cost high-effect combat drones. However, the effectiveness of such drones is unlikely to be a deciding factor in the war given the inevitable attrition of weapons systems in prolonged conflicts. Instead, Ukraine’s ability to match Russia in firepower will depend on the Western resolve to keep supplying it with arms in the face of Russian energy export coercion.
Currently, surveys show a large majority of the German population—Russia’s largest customer in Europe—is willing to bear the high prices. Should European countries remain fixed in their support of Ukraine despite high prices and economic troubles, Russian prospects of defeating Ukraine will reduce significantly.
Cian is a Research Analyst and contributes to both Analysis and the Daily Brief. He specializes in Australian and European geopolitics with a particular interest in the strategic autonomy of the EU.